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The 2019 Best UK Home Broadband ISP Choices by ISPreview

Monday, January 7th, 2019 (12:01 am) - Score 64,776
gold stars uk best broadband isp

The downside of picking a cheap ISP is that you may have to contend with oversubscribed networks (slower speeds due to congestion), fewer advanced service features (e.g. dynamic instead of static IP addresses) and technically inept customer support teams that treat you more like a number than a human being.

However, not all providers are built the same and some will deliver a much higher quality of service and support. The downside is that you often have to pay a higher price in order to receive such an improvement. However, please remember, no service is perfect and even the best providers can suffer network faults or other problems.

Best UK Home Broadband ISPs for Quality

A good quality ISP will often put more of their profits back into the network, which means they can hire UK based staff with experience of computer networks and offer advanced features, such as IPv6, shorter contracts, faster repair times, static IP addresses and website hosting etc. (we always advise readers to pick a separate provider for web and email hosting, so you can easily switch broadband ISP when needed).

It’s no coincidence that the best providers also tend to be the smallest players, which is partly because they place a higher value on each user and can thus deliver a more personal customer relationship. The following page reflects a list of ISPs that generally appear to place quality and reliability above the mass market desire for lower pricing.

NOTE: Smaller ISPs often expect you to buy your own third-party router and consumers who want a specific Service Level Agreement (e.g. guaranteed fix times and bandwidth), which may significantly increase the package cost, should consider choosing a business plan.

* Zen Internet

Setup: £0-£55 | Type: Openreach FTTC/P, G.fast, ADSL | Fastest Plan: 300Mbps

Entry-Level Package Examples

Unlimited Standard: Average Speed 10Mbps – £32.99 a month (discounts sometimes reduce this to c.£28)

Unlimited Superfast: Average Speed 35Mbps – £43.99 a month (discounts sometimes reduce this to c.£37)

Unlimited Ultrafast: Average Speed 145Mbps – £52 a month

Zen is a well-established medium sized ISP that has built a long history of providing generally very good quality service and support, which is aptly illustrated by all the positive feedback they receive on ISPreview.co.uk (Zen’s Reviews) and elsewhere around the internet (e.g. here). On top of that their standard pricing is comparable to some of the largest providers, although they aren’t as aggressive with discounts.

On top of that Zen are one of the few ISPs with a good selection of affordable “full fibreFTTP broadband packages for home users on Openreach’s network and all of their services come with a Static IP address, as well as the welcome decision to bundle in a capable FRITZ!Box 7530 router from AVM (here); this is popular among advanced users. Zen’s consistent quality means they’re almost always one of our top picks.

Pros:
• Speed
• Support
• Static IP addresses (IPv6 support)
• Affordable FTTP packages
• Good router (albeit not the fastest for WiFi)

Cons:
• No ISP is perfect but it’s hard to think of a specific negative

* AAISP (Andrews & Arnold)

Setup: £0-£100 | Type: Openreach FTTC/P, ADSL | Fastest Plan: 160Mbps

Entry-Level Package Examples

Standard (200GB Usage): Average Speed ?Mbps – £35 a month

Superfast (200GB Usage): Average Speed ?Mbps – £45 a month

Ultrafast (200GB Usage): Average Speed 160Mbps – £55 a month

Are you an IT expert? Do you seek an ISP where the customer support department all seem to be experts in telecoms and broadband networking? If the answer is yes then consider Andrews & Arnold. AAISP is essentially an ISP made by boffins, for boffins.. and businesses. They’re a smaller ISP, albeit one where the management will often go to great lengths to resolve any problems you may have.

A quick look at AAISP’s review history should tell you all you need to know and the ZyXEL VMG3925-B10B router that they bundle is a generally reasonable piece of kit (here). On the other hand if you’re not a very technically minded person and don’t enjoy being bombarded by broadband related acronyms then their website could seem confusing, not least because they don’t promote their packages using service speed(s).

On top of that AAISP doesn’t offer any unlimited usage packages (but they do have 2 TeraByte allowances) and as a result many of their packages may seem more expensive than the competition. We should add that they do sell a 160Mbps FTTP tier too but at the time of writing it only shows up when going through their order system (assuming it’s available to your area).

Pros:
• Speed
• Support
• Static IPv4 and block of IPv6 addresses
• 1, 6 or 12 month contracts
• Line rental without the phone (voice) service

Cons:
• Price (broadband)
• Too much jargon and no advertised speeds can make the packages confusing

* iDNET

Setup: £0-£90 | Type: Openreach FTTC/P, G.fast, ADSL | Fastest Plan: 300Mbps

Entry-Level Package Examples

Unlimited Standard: Average Speed 10Mbps – £33.60 a month

Unlimited Superfast: Average Speed 36Mbps – £40.80 a month

Unlimited Ultrafast: Average Speed 145Mbps – £49.80 a month

This is another ISP like Zen that has been around since the early days and over that time they’ve built up an extremely strong reputation (IDNet Reviews), which is backed up by free UK based technical support. Furthermore all connections come with a static IPv4 address and static IPv6 addresses (native /48).

On top of that iDNET pledges to deliver the “lowest latency,” Quality of Service (QoS) for VoIP applications and they claim to “guarantee no contention on our network, no throttling, no traffic shaping & no port blocking,” which makes them a good pick for multiplayer gamers as well as business users. In addition, their ADSL (standard) and FTTC VDSL2 (superfast) packages come with only a 1 month contract term.

On the other hand subscribers aren’t provided with an included router like some of the other ISPs on this page and you have to run an availability check in order to see their full price / package options.

Pros:
• Speed
• Support
• Static IP addresses (IPv6 support)
• Commitment to low latency and no contention
• 1 Month contracts on ADSL and FTTC

Cons:
• No included router
• Package details only made clear after an availability check

* Freeola

Setup: £0 | Type: Openreach FTTC/P, G.fast, ADSL | Fastest Plan: 290Mbps

Entry-Level Package Examples

Unlimited Standard: Average Speed 11Mbps – £26.94 a month

Unlimited Superfast: Average Speed 35Mbps – £41.97 a month

Unlimited Ultrafast: Average Speed 140Mbps – £55.98 a month

As an ISP Freeola (GetDotted) has been around since 2005 and they’ve been slowly growing their customer base. In 2018 they also became one of the first providers to launch a G.fast based ultrafast broadband product and they’re one of the few who can offer so-called “silent line rental” (no paid outgoing voice calls), which effectively means you get a standalone internet connection without the phone service (slightly cheaper).

Generally speaking the feedback we’ve had about this ISP has been positive and so they’ve made it into our listing. Customers can also expect to receive UK based customer support, website hosting, email and a static IP address (IPv4). The downside is that Freeola won’t give you an included router but they do offer a discount on several optional routers.

Pros:
• Support
• Static IP addresses (IPv4)
• Included website hosting
• Line rental without the phone (voice) service

Cons:
• No included router
• Could do with more feedback on their service quality

* Uno

Setup: £48-£116.40 | Type: Openreach FTTC, G.fast, ADSL | Fastest Plan: 150Mbps

Entry-Level Package Examples

Unlimited Standard: Average Speed 10Mbps – £26.99 a month

Unlimited Superfast: Average Speed ?Mbps – £44.39 a month

Unlimited Ultrafast: Average Speed 145Mbps – £? a month (unable to check)

The website for uno (formerly XILO) is at times confusing, while their availability checker is slow and doesn’t seem able to handle new line installs (e.g. house moves) because it can only accept a phone number input (not a postcode). On top of that it also appears to reject numbers if they aren’t on BT’s national network (e.g. unbundled Sky Broadband). All of this frustrating but if you can look past that then there are some big positives.

The service and 24/7 UK support provided by uno is very highly rated (uno Reviews). On top of that they also give customers access to a special control panel that enables you, where possible, to tweak lots of advanced connection settings (interleaving, IP blocks, DNS etc.). The fact that the ISP also supplies a static IP address, email and website hosting as standard is another bonus. They also pledge not to impose any blocks or traffic management.

Pros:
• Speed
• 24/7 UK Support
• Static IP address (IPv4)
• All the extra features

Cons:
• Price (superfast broadband)
• No free router
• Ineffective availability checker and confusing package presentations
• Package speeds only show after a slow.. availability check
• Prices exclude VAT but not very clear (tiny small print)
• No IPv6 yet but it is on their to-do list

* Aquiss

Setup: £0 | Type: Openreach FTTC/P, ADSL | Fastest Plan: 67Mbps

Entry-Level Package Examples

Unlimited Standard: Average Speed 13Mbps – £34 a month

Unlimited Superfast: Average Speed 35Mbps – £45 a month

Over the years Aquiss have established a good rating on ISPreview (Aquiss Reviews) due to strong UK based customer support, reasonable prices and a good general level of service reliability. Subscribers will also receive a static IP address and their FTTC packages usually include free activation, much like some of the bigger ISPs. You can also get phone line rental from £13 per month.

Pros:
• Speed
• Support
• Static IPv4 and IPv6 address
• Cheap line rental (£13) – if you want a standalone phone

Cons:
• No free router
• A little more expensive than some close rivals

Continue on Page 3 to view some of the best Alternative Network (AltNet) providers, which have built their own networks..

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Mark Jackson
By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
Leave a Comment
22 Responses
  1. Avatar Marcel Thompson

    Hi Mark, I believe as of June last year virgin media changed their traffic management policy so it no longer applies to both download and upload usage on all of their main packages. 🙂

    https://help.virginmedia.com/system/templates/selfservice/vm/help/customer/locale/en-GB/portal/200300000001000/article/HELP-2320/Virgin-Media-broadband-traffic-management-policy

  2. Avatar Sid

    Any reason why TalkTalk has been left out under the ‘price’ category?

  3. Avatar Denis Williams

    Funny you never mention UTILITY WAREHOUSE who have been awarded numerous Which awards for all services for years now yet you never mention them. So much for being impartial.

    • We’ve had pretty much zero feedback on that service or contact from UW as an ISP, so how can we make a judgement? The Which? magazine seem to be the only ones who give them any awards and those are based on feedback from a commercial membership (we can’t see the details of their ratings etc.). Not enough to go on.

  4. Avatar Out_In_The_Sticks

    Another funny thing…. Well, I wasn’t surprised when I read this article, is the fact that none of these ISP’s are available here in the Rhondda and surrounding areas, which shows where the lady of the fibre land is at present.
    I’m keeping my fingers crossed that we get G.fast in the not too distant, but as of yet, even with the cabinet in our area showing that it’s ready, absolutely no ISP has taken it up!
    Ah well, BT are the main shareholders for supplying the cables here to, until you go out towards Swansea and Cardiff that you see FTTP and cable fibre in abundance.
    Nice to see none of the big companies in the list, and being a Sky Broadband customer, would love to switch to a faster service, but it looks like we’ll be stuck for a while at the speed we have, which is capped to the UK average as Sky seem to think our line cannot take more than 36Mbps, but I’ve done the tests and neighbors down the street have 45+Mbps and our router shows we can go quicker, but the info this company uses to determine how fast easy house or area should be is so out of date, it’s crazy!
    Anyway, there ends my rant for the beginning of 2019, who knows what the rest of the year will bring?

  5. Avatar FibreBubble

    Article is just plucking stuff out of the air.

  6. Avatar Andrew

    I’m surprised Pulse8 didn’t feature this year. Any particular reason for this?

  7. Avatar dennis

    “Sky lock their routers, making it hard to use a third-party alternative”

    Im not sure what you mean by this so maybe i am misreading but you can use your own router on Sky very easily as long as it supports MER. Username and Password details are no longer required (No more needing to use tools to extract it from the Sky router). You have not needed to do that for almost 2 years.

    Also a bit confused why for Plusnet you have “UK based support” as a pro but for most other ISPs which have “UK based Support” all you have is the word “support” under them. For Plusnet it confuses things more as even though “UK Based Support” is deemed a pro when under con you have wrote “Seems to have an issue with long call waiting times (support)”. Support UK based or not, is either good or poor and personally to me long wait times is not a good thing in any regard (UK based or not).

    Im also not sure if i personally would under BT call “Mostly UK based support (aims to be 100% by 2020)” a pro, in a comparison to other ISPs. That sounds more like a con to me when others already have 100% UK Support.

  8. Avatar Kinolmontie

    Out in the sticks, doorbell rang, Openreach engineer, we will be installing FTTP within the next three months….. Can’t believe it, stunned, lost for words, BIG Smile… Need to change Mobile from 3 as about as much use here as a chocolate Teapot, thinking of moving to EE! Does anyone know if there are any EE/BT Mobile/BT Broadband 300+mps deals?
    As this will mainly be for home use, is there much of a difference (Time wise, would we notice it if we went for a slower speed, say 100Mps)?

  9. Avatar Jan

    where is hyperoptic?

  10. Avatar Poppy Jordan

    The above blog describes very well about which broadband service is to be the best choice of selection in 2019. Thanks for the information.

  11. Avatar Keith

    I’m surprised that Vodafone’s router was judged “good”. The thing has so many issues that the only thing that seems to work anywhere near properly is it’s 5GHz WiFi. Rather than good, most users on Vodafone’s forums would probably judge it as special needs!

  12. Avatar Emma Roy

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  13. Avatar Colin P

    Been told by Vodafone ( Thus/Demon) that they will no longer provide adsl basic service here in our part of the Vale of Glamorgan . There is fibre less than a mile away but BT won’t bring it into the villageof 90 houses even though there is an almost empty duct laid about 10 yrs ago – Now searching for a new ISP

  14. Avatar Danny

    i currently have virgin Meadia with there topinternet with its newest router I’m considering switching to sky to there supper fast broadband and sky q tv package….. witch is the better suppler would people say… sky or virgin?

  15. Avatar Fazal Majid

    G.Fast is *not* full fiber, and it’s not fast either, only in comparison to the UK’s dismal standards compared to our European peers. It’s copper-based technology, i.e. more flogging of Openreach’s dead-horse infrastructure they keep refusing to invest in.

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Cheapest Superfast ISPs
  • Hyperoptic £18.00 (*22.00)
    Avg. Speed 30Mbps, Unlimited
    Gift: Code: HYPER19
  • Direct Save Telecom £22.95 (*29.95)
    Avg. Speed 35Mbps, Unlimited
    Gift: None
  • Origin Broadband £23.00
    Avg. Speed 35Mbps, Unlimited
    Gift: None
  • Vodafone £23.00
    Avg. Speed 35Mbps, Unlimited
    Gift: None
  • SSE £23.00 (*33.00)
    Avg. Speed 35Mbps, Unlimited (FUP)
    Gift: None
Prices inc. Line Rental | View All
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